Like Button

Friday, June 03, 2016

Lest Anyone Should Boast

I recently finished Rosaria Butterfield's The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. This is not a review of the book. If you don't know who she is, she was a leftist, lesbian professor that despised Christians ... and then became one. Good story. She was redeemed and actually turned her life over to Christ. She has drawn a lot of fire from the LGBT community because she stopped being a lesbian and married a pastor. There was one part in her story, after she was a pastor's wife, that shocked me. It shouldn't have, but it did.

She wrote about talking to a woman at a church that was considering calling her husband to be the pastor there. The woman, not knowing Rosaria's testimony, asked what she thought they should do if a homosexual came into the church. Rosaria gave her a copy of her testimony. Later, the woman came back and told her she shouldn't tell anyone about her testimony and that she didn't know how to remain friends with her. (Not a quote; just the essence.)

I'm baffled at this. Isn't this the Pharisee and the sinner? "Thank you, God, that I'm not a sinner like that one." Aren't we all sinners saved by grace? Is there something particularly evil about homosexual sin that is worse than sins of pride, lust, greed, idolatry, or disobedience to parents? (I throw that last one in because on more than one occasion Paul does in his lists of sins (Rom 1:28-32; 2 Tim 3:1-5).) When did we become "better than them" when it is two Christians in view? "Sure," the message seems to be, "we're saved by grace through faith, not of works lest anyone should boast ... but we can at least boast that we weren't as bad as some others." How is it that we pray for the souls and salvation of people and then balk when it happens? Why do we rejoice in God's grace and then think we may have earned it? How can it be that we expect everyone to view us as redeemed, forgiven, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, but do not expect to view fellow believers the same way? I don't understand.

The response of that Christian woman brought tears to my eyes. Here I was, reading the book, rejoicing in at all that God was doing in the life of "an unlikely convert", and all that woman saw was the sinner Christ didn't see anymore. Dear Lord, teach me to be gracious to my fellow redeemed sinners, not thinking more highly of myself than I ought.

7 comments:

1eternitymatters said...

That response is tragic. Whenever I've taught on refuting pro-gay theology to Sunday school classes I always throw in some balance and ask, "What if the pastor came to you and asked you to befriend someone who struggles with same-sex attraction?" One guy I'm friends with is a believer who knows the behavior is sinful but struggles with the temptation. He just wants to be loved and listened to. He is on the right side of the issue. How dare we dismiss people like that because his sin isn't a temptation for us?

Stan said...

It was interesting in the book because she was NOT struggling with the temptation. God had taken it away. She was truly new. Yet this other woman couldn't stand the thought of the prior sin ... as if she herself had none. We're supposed to bear one another's burdens, not filter those we minister to for acceptable behavior.

David said...

That is a tragic yet seemingly all to common problem in the church. Too many people see the sin and not the sinner. It might also be part of the lie people have bought into that homosexuality is a condition not an action. It is truly heart wrenching to hear stories of repentant people being rejected by "Christians" for their past sins.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I'd wager that the woman wouldn't have had a problem if the testimony was about heterosexual fornication and adultery. Some people seem to think homosexuality is the unforgivable sin.

Stan said...

Exactly. And while others sins might be unforgivable, mine certainly are not.

Marshall Art said...

It's not much different than the problems a truly reformed criminal might endure when his past is brought to light. If the guy was a thief, most of us would still check ourselves for our wallets. It's somewhat instinctive. However, I don't know that I would verbalize any nasty thoughts about it. Clearly in the case of this woman, she's now married to the pastor for cryin' out loud. That should mean something!

Stan said...

In a secular world it might be the natural response. If we're talking about lending our car to a guy who has had 30 accidents or having a sex offender babysit, it makes sense. What, exactly the threat is with a lesbian isn't entirely clear. But in a Christian world, it makes no sense. "If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36) If it is obvious that someone has given their life to Christ and it is clear that God has done a work in that person's life, the only reason to check your wallet or shun a lesbian is if we are convinced that our lust and pride and past sins are much safer than theirs.